Simon & Schuster Children’s UK has signed a series of picture books written and illustrated by animator Steve Small.
Helen Mackenzie Smith, editorial director for picture books, acquired world rights from Penny Holroyde at Holroyde Cartey in an exclusive three-book deal.
S&S UK are developing two picture book lines with Small who the publisher tipped as "a bright new star in picture books". The first series is a major partnership with author Smriti Halls (represented by Jodie Hodges at United Agents) launching with I’m Sticking with You in May 2020. “A smash-hit at Bologna Book Fair, I’m Sticking with You has already sold in 11 languages with more deals pending and multiple pre-empts for North American rights ending in a four-way auction,” the publisher said. A follow-up to I’m Sticking with You has also been commissioned."
Small will also write and illustrate his own solo projects starting with The Duck Who Didn’t Like Water, which is published in May 2021. “It is a warm, funny story about how we don’t need to like the same things to find our perfect pal,” S&S UK said.
Small said: “On first reading of Smriti’s playfully wise story, I found myself immediately wondering how I could tell it with pictures and explore it further. I’m an animator and familiar with telling stories with movement, but I’ve long admired picture books as a form of storytelling, so this was an exciting opportunity. Fortunately for me, the team at S&S made sure that illustrating my first book couldn’t have been more fun. I’m looking forward to working on many more picture books with them in the future.”
Halls says: “I’m beyond thrilled to have been paired with the wonder that is Steve Small. He has brought oodles of charm, wit and joy to I’m Sticking with You, creating characters that are adorable, hilarious and totally fall-in-lovable with. This is a story of two halves... and I couldn’t have dreamt of illustrations half as wonderful.”
Mackenzie Smith said: “When Jane Buckley, our art director, first suggested Steve Small’s gorgeous, expressive artwork for Smriti Halls’ tender text, I’m Sticking with You, we hoped we might be on to something special, and the terrific international response to Steve’s artwork has confirmed that. We are beyond thrilled to be working with Steve and Smriti, and proud and delighted that Steve has entrusted us with his author-illustrator debut and committed to S&S as his picture book home.”
Rachel Denwood, m.d. of S&S UK childrens says: “We are fast-building on our strong reputation as a house committed to discovering and growing great picture book talent. Steve Small’s work is set to delight young readers the world over and we are thrilled to embark on this long-term partnership with him.”
Small has worked in animation for over 30 years as a director, designer and animator and is based in London.